The study, published in the journal BioMed Central, found both a history of blistering sunburn and having a job in the sun were associated with basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas.
Sunlight exposures at younger ages "tended to be associated with squamous cell carcinoma, but not basal cell carcinoma, risk," researchers concluded.
Senior study author Dana E. Rollison of the Moffitt Cancer Center and colleagues at the University of South Florida and the International Agency for Research on Cancer in France surveyed people with both types of cancers, as well as those with no history of skin cancer, to determine the effects of intermittent versus continuous sunlight exposure, as well as the timing of the exposure and age.
"There are more than a million new cases of basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas diagnosed in the United States each year," Rollison said in a statement. "While mortality associated with non-melanoma skin cancers, such as basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas is low, patients may experience substantial morbidity and treatment costs are high."